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Healthy Recipe Doctor

with Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

Elaine Magee's blog has now been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support she has brought to the WebMD community throughout the years.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dorm Survival Nutrition Tips (Part 1 of 2)

Refrigerator and Microwave Tips

By now, freshman college students have been at school for a few weeks. I’ve got a freshman and junior in college myself so I know that dorm life is exciting and challenging all at the same time.

There are lots of reasons why college students might want to stock up on healthy snack and light meal options for their dorm room: late night labs, no time for breakfast, saving on meal card costs, food allergies, or simply not liking the choices in the dining halls.

There are two keys to dorm survival success. The first is rigging your dorm room with an approved microwave and refrigerator, which will open up your options for food to have on hand. The second is having access to a car so you can stock up on these items. Even if you or your friends don’t have a car, many campuses have shuttles you can use or cars on campus that you can rent to make your supermarket run every few weeks. There may even be a supermarket within walking distance of campus (take a few friends with you and make it a social thing on the weekend).

Here are some suggestions for foods to keep handy in your dorm refrigerator:

  • Fresh fruit. Some fruits do well in the refrigerator (apples, melon, berries) while some do not (bananas, peaches, pears)
  • Fresh veggies. Rready-to-eat choices include baby carrots, celery and jicama sticks, cherry tomatoes, edamame.
  • Nonfat Greek yogurt (fancy it up with granola, nuts or fruit)
  • Hummus (serve with whole wheat pita or veggies)
  • Lowfat string cheese or cheddar cheese sticks
  • Single serving cartons or bottles of lowfat milk or chocolate milk (look for brands with less sugar)
  • Lowfat cottage cheese (enjoy with fresh fruit)
  • Turkey roll-ups (roll turkey slices up with cheese or avocado)
  • Whole grain bread(keep it in your refrigerator so it doesn’t  get moldy)

 Here are some suggestions for foods you can make in your microwave:

  • Light microwave popcorn packs
  • Dry meals that you add water to and microwave
  • Canned pasta meals
  • Single serving soups (there are many options with lower sodium and fat)
  • Instant Oatmeal (less sugar options are available)
  • Quick Quesadilla–add some cheese to a whole wheat tortilla and pop in microwave to melt the cheese
  • Bake a sweet potato in microwave and add some cinnamon
  • Bake a Russet potato in microwave and add vegetarian canned chili and cheese
  • Make microwave nachos with whole grain tortilla chips topped with canned vegetarian refried beans and cheese (top with anything else you desire)
  • If you have a freezer in your refrigerator, there are some lighter frozen microwaveable snacks available such as Lean Pockets made with whole grain and Ore Ida Bagel Bites 3-Cheese

Coming next: Grab and go breakfasts, snacks and treats.

Posted by: Elaine Magee, RD at 4:12 pm

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